Reason #48: We Adapt Policies to Meet Community Needs

St. Thomas Public Library Board adapts policies to meet community needs

St. Thomas Public Library, like any library, has a bureaucratic, paperwork filled, staff and board meeting, policy writing and abiding, sometimes serious administrative side. It’s the side of the library that most customers never see, connect with, or even know about. (It takes a lot of work to keep a library running!)

Part of all that bureaucratic work is creating a Strategic Plan that helps guide the development of St. Thomas Public Library from 2013 to 2017. This also means we need to write policies on a variety of things including lending new media, circulation, lending, and fines, and expected behaviour of customers and staff. This term, our Strategic Plan has four strategic directions and objectives:

  • Ensuring Relevance: Access resources and opportunities designed to enhance your quality of life
  • Creating Connections: Experience the library as a hub that connects you to others, your community and the world
  • Versatile Spaces: Find versatile spaces created to meet your evolving needs
  • Service Excellence: Experience responsive and dynamic library service

What does this mean to you? It means that we do our best to find out what YOU, as a library customer, really need and want from your library and doing our best to adapt. And we have! In the past few months, we’ve adapted policies to accommodate the following changes at the library:

  • CD borrowing has changed from a one week loan to a three week loan.
  • Magazine loans have changed from a two week loan to a three week loan to fall in line with our three week loan on other literature-based materials.
  • You can borrow six video games per account for one week, rather than the original one game per account.
  • At the request of many customers, we now keep the study rooms on the second level unlocked and we’ve changed the rules of the use of the study rooms to be more flexible for customers . You can still book the study rooms ahead of time to reserve the space for a specific date and time.
  • We’ve added an electronic scanner to the George Thorman Local History Room so customers don’t have to go down to the main floor to copy something and go back upstairs five or ten times per research session (all the while hoping someone doesn’t move their research materials.)
  • Computer reservation went from one 1-hour session per day (one session per day, even if you only wanted to use it for 15 minutes) to one hour computer use per day, which means you can spread out your hour long computer use throughout the day any way you like!
  • The library recognizes the challenges faced by many people due to financial pressures and understands the need for flexibility in regards to fines. As such, St. Thomas Public Library has reduced the maximum overdue charge per item for DVDs, BluRays, Video Games, and CDs from $10 to $5.
  • By the same token, all lost card replacement fees are now $2 per card, rather than the $5 replacement fee for adult account cards. (Although, if you remember our Reason #5, you can get a new special edition library 130th Anniversary card for free this year!)


These changes are directly in line with the Library’s Strategic Directions and Objectives:

  • Ensuring Relevance

We will develop services targeted to St. Thomas’ unique community needs

  • Creating Connections

We will engage in communication and interaction with users and non-users to ensure the library meets St. Thomas’ unique community needs.

We will expand electronic resources, access, and opportunities.

  • Versatile Spaces

We will create spaces that are targeted to St. Thomas’ unique community needs

  • Service Excellence

We will offer services responsive to St. Thomas’ unique community needs


St. Thomas Public Library would like to thank our volunteers on the Library Board, who make these policy changes possible.

If you have any suggestions regarding policies, please fill out a comment card located at the Circulation Desks. We’re always open to helping our customers and community as much as possible. After all, we wouldn’t be here without you!

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